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Is private tuition market growing?

(41 Posts)
SRWalker Mon 27-Jun-11 12:49:53

My name is Sam, and I am currently finishing my PhD in education. My dissertation is on the British Education system, specifically in London. Being American, I have been shocked by the amount of private tuition that occurs in the UK—there is nothing like this back home!

I recently read a study that claimed almost half of English students get tutored at some point in their school career! Is this the kind of mass market you all have seen as parents? Do your children receive private tutoring?

Do schools advertise private tuition companies? Or is private tuition seen a failing in a child’s intelligence?

I appreciate all of your responses in advance.

coansha Mon 27-Jun-11 23:27:16

My youngest is now getting tutored as "fallen behind" at her private school!!
We move from Australia to Uk very soon and here education system is different as well as age intake, but am very angry (with myself too) that she has areas she needs help with and this has not been identified and a plan put in action.
We have only just found out to what extent as she had to sit an entrance exam to get in and new school have accepted her but she needs a significant amount of tutoring to pass high school exam.
School here and in UK have passed on numbers of tutors but informally and certainly not advertised. I don't think it is seen as a failing on the child, more the system, my daughter is a clever girl, I know we all think we have geniuses as kids but she is smart but lazy and missed understanding the basics thoroughly, so like a house with a shoddy foundation she is not solid enough to build upon, so I am underpinning her!!!!!
My Bf in Uk had her son tutored for scholarship exam for around a year before as he attended state school and she could not afford school fees as a single parent, luckily it worked for him and he got in.
We have seen 3 education systems (Spain, UK and Australia) and will agree Uk is top of tutoring programmes, here in oz sports rule and its not a good balance.
I do like the Spanish system where at age 16 if they are not doing too well academically they are offered training in a trade.
I think we need to go back to smaller classes so teachers can identify needs as kids who require help(not just my daughter) can be supported and not allowed to slip through the net.
We are fortunate my DD is 10, we have been made aware of her situation with time to get her on the right track and we have the funds to do it.
I do feel for parents that cannot do that.

Bonsoir Tue 28-Jun-11 07:21:30

Sam - are you comparing London with New York or is your point of comparison somewhere else in the US? Because the tutoring business is thriving in NY, as indeed it seems to be in all metropolises.

The French market for tutoring is HUGE and worth a look.

senua Tue 28-Jun-11 08:27:50

Is there such a thing as the British education system?

wordfactory Tue 28-Jun-11 08:35:29

Private tution is massive here in the UK...but I don't think it's seen as a failure on the child's part. Rather it comes from either a failing on the school's part or generally an acceptance that certain things are much better taught one-to-one.

It also comes I think from the acceptance by some sections of the community that our place in the world is being significantly challenged and if our DC are going to compete they will be facing a very different world and much stiffer global competition for jobs etc than our generation did.

CeciC Tue 28-Jun-11 08:38:58

I will agree with Bonsoir. I was in N.Y on holidays a couple of weeks ago, and I read an article about tutoring and how expensive it was in N.Y., some people were paying $30,000 a year in tutors on top of school fees, as the presure in getting A in all subjects at the end of High School was vey strong.
For personal experience, we haven't use a tutor yet, older daughter is in Y5 and doing some VR exams at home.
The thing that surprise me the most in this country is mainly kids have a tutor not because they are behind but to prepare for exams and cover things that the school hasn't done yet, in order to pass an exam.
I am spanish and even thought the education system has changed a lot in Spain since I was a student, the majority of kids get tutored if they are behind.

Bonsoir Tue 28-Jun-11 08:53:03

In New York the business of tutoring children for pre-school entry is big business shock

Bonsoir Tue 28-Jun-11 08:57:08

I agree with wordfactory that the acceptance that some things are just not easy to learn in a large group setting (ie school) has become ever more widespread.

FWIW, my DD, who is 6.7, has had one-to-one tuition in English literacy (she is in a French-English bilingual school that teaches reading in French first), in swimming, in tennis, in ski-ing. Those are all things in which DCs make massively more progress when they get the undivided attention of one adult who knows what they are doing! Likewise, we get her to read to us in French and English - reading to a single adult is also vitally important for progress.

cory Tue 28-Jun-11 09:07:04

Depends very much on where you are in the country and the demographic; not that many people around here who can pay for tuition. Besides, we haven't got the pressure of preparing a child for the 11+ as there are no grammar schools, and most people can't afford private so no reason to tutor for that either.

acorntree Tue 28-Jun-11 09:48:24

Agree with cory that it might be area dependent.
If you hang about on forums you can come away with the impression that we are all employing armies of private tutors. I’m sure there are areas in the UK where many children are tutored but it is not universally true. We live in a fairly affluent semi-rural area served by good comprehensives. Private tutoring in the main academic subjects is quite rare... Some children are tutored for entry in to private schools but even then it is not all of them and the schools tend to discourage it. If you were to widen the description of private tutoring to include private music lessons, sports coaching etc. and other extracurricular activities, than the percentage of children receiving private tuition would be much higher..

RoadArt Tue 28-Jun-11 21:42:05

I think parents organise tutors because they dont get enough feedback from schools and feel their children are failing.

How often do kids come home and say they are bored, or the work is too easy, but the teacher doesnt appear to extend them, motivate them or pay any interest in them.

The reality may be very different, and the teacher is stretching them to the maximum, but you believe your child and feel you want to help them or motivate them and make them feel they want to be interested in the subject again.
It is only when you get a communicate honest teacher that you do genuinely find out exactly where your child is at.

Because parents dont really know what children should know by a certain time, then they go to a tutor to get external feedback.

I organised tutors for one of my DS when she was constantly complaining she was bored and the work was too easy. The tutor immediately remotivated her and got her back into being interested in the subject and thrived and developed very quickly at school. One term was enough to do this and it was because someone was focussing their attention on her and making her feel important. Some kids need this. The particular teacher in that year didnt even notice she existed.

I couldnt afford to continue so we now use online tutoring programmes for all my kids and they have helped considerably. What has been interesting is how much information they havent been taught at school, and without these tuition programmes their knowledge would not be as great as it is now. They have gone through the curriculum starting at Level 1 in great detail and worked through each level and their knowledge and understanding is solid.
Sometimes they have been working ahead of topics covered at school, and vice versa, so both school and the online tuition programmes have complemented each other and worked extremely well. Filling in the gaps has also helped now they have got older and these topics are being repeated in an advanced form.

I wont be sending them to private tutors again though, they prefer to work at their own pace when it suits them and dont want the rigidity of a certain time certain place every week. This way they dont see it as a chore.

Humourme Wed 29-Jun-11 07:01:42

I would say that private tutoring is definitely on the increase in my area - and the reason is not to prime the child for grammar schools but to supplement the state education system beccause out children are weak in the basic subjects - maths and literacy (and therefore other subjects too). The truth is the state education system is failing our children and perpetuates a culture of mediocrity - if you are not a shining star or diagonised with learning difficulties you will probably be left to flounder. Don't be fooled by government statistics saying our children are smarter - the passmarks have just been set lower. I have used the Kumon (Japanese) learning sytem for 2 out 3 of my sons to great effect - had I not done so they would have been left on the scrap heap. Unfortunately, there are many problems within the state sytem (which is not the issue here) and for many people who cannot afford private education or who do not have access to grammar schools taking action into their own hands, even at the cost of financial hardship, is the only way forward.

Bunbaker Wed 29-Jun-11 07:15:55

I agree with cory that it depends on where you live and what the schools are like in your area. Like acorntree we live in a fairly affluent semi rural area with an outstanding primary school in our village that feeds into the best comprehensive school in the area. Private tutoring is unusual round here, even for the independent entrance school exams. DD and another child sat the entrance exam this year and both passed without extra tutoring. I put this down to the fact that our village school is so good that extra tutoring wasn't necessary. In fact DD said that the exam was easier than the practice SATS tests that they were having in class every week.

There is also less competition for school places round here. In some areas of London, for example, you hear of hundreds of children competing for each place at the better schools.

rosar Wed 29-Jun-11 10:50:05

A long time ago (at least in the 1970s), one looked for a tutor when your child was failing to meet teacher and school expectations.

Now it seems a tutor is needed because the teachers and schools do not meet the parent's expectations.

Discuss the various changes that have resulted in this fundamental shift in behaviour.

LovetheHarp Wed 29-Jun-11 11:28:08

I think our family is a typical example of what is happening, even though we do not use tutors but we had to start doing a lot of topping up ourselves.

My children started their school career and for quite a while I did trust the school to get on with it, like our parents did, and just support in the usual way (reading, etc). There were alarm bells ringing a few times in the first year or two and started having to go into school to enquire, but little communication was forthcoming.

Then only recently we took matters in hand when we discovered, by coming on here and downloading the NC for English and Maths, that it hadn't been covered, esp in Maths. Then a bit of digging later revealed that we should have woken up to this a while ago when all the other parents had brought the tutors in.

I am sure this is a common scenario in many schools.

Bonsoir Wed 29-Jun-11 12:19:28

rosar - that is a good observation and, while I think that the market for tutors who help children meet the school's standards is still vibrant, I agree that there is a new and vigorous market for tutors who help children meet the parents' more exacting standards. I am clearly a customer!

Katisha Wed 29-Jun-11 12:30:55

What online programmes do you use roadart?

wordfactory Wed 29-Jun-11 14:16:13

Yup another customer here.

The way I see it, it is my responsibility to educate my children. School is just one of the many resources I use.

DeWe Wed 29-Jun-11 14:28:18

My dm started tutoring in the early 80s, relying on word of mouth for getting people. She has more in some years, fewer in others, but basically the number has stayed similar, although she gets more A-level and fewer 11+ queries now. Main difference is now people tend to expect you to come to their house, originally they always came to her.

Bonsoir Wed 29-Jun-11 17:25:02

wordfactory - I agree, school is one of the resources I use when trying to meet the requirements of the curriculum that I have designed for my children wink.

Bunbaker Wed 29-Jun-11 18:41:52

"school is one of the resources I use when trying to meet the requirements of the curriculum that I have designed for my children"

grin

Bonsoir Wed 29-Jun-11 18:45:31

grin I meet more and more parents with a similar attitude... is it because we are of a highly educated generation that has done a lot and can analyse the gaps in our own education and wish to avoid similar pitfalls for our children? Any other conclusions?

Bunbaker Wed 29-Jun-11 18:48:24

Sorry Bonsoir, I thought you were being tongue in cheek there.

Bonsoir Wed 29-Jun-11 18:49:46

Only laughing at myself! It's totally true but I acknowledge what a ridiculous situation it is. I should love to find a school that would teach my children everything I wish them to learn...

webwiz Wed 29-Jun-11 19:04:20

There seems to be a lot of A level tutoring where I live due to a combination of factors - students who have done well at GCSE haven't made the step up to A level very well / the student is a lazy boy who needs a push (sorry but it does always seem to be boys!) / parents are anxious about grades for getting into university.

Add into that the fact that we have 5 schools all with their own smallish sixth forms and all with a variety of teachers ranging from the amazingly brilliant to the "oh my goodness get me a tutor now".

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